Frequently Asked Questions

How much electricity does a nuclear power plant generate?

As of November 1, 2014, there were 100 operating nuclear reactors at 62 nuclear power plants in the United States. The Fort Calhoun plant in Nebraska has one reactor with the smallest generating capacity1 of 502 megawatts (MW). The Palo Verde plant in Arizona has three reactors with the largest combined generating capacity1 of about 3,937 MW.

The amount of electricity that a nuclear reactor or power plant generates depends on the amount of time it operates at a specific capacity. For example, if the Fort Calhoun reactor operates at 502 MW capacity for 24 hours, it will generate 12,048 megawatt-hours (MWh).  Most power plants do not operate a full capacity every hour of every day of the year.

1Summer capacity

Learn more:

U.S. nuclear generation and generating capacity (historical monthly capacity and generation by state and reactor)

Nuclear energy (historical monthly and annual data on the total number of U.S nuclear reactors, electricity capacity and generation, and capacity factors)

U.S. Nuclear Industry

Nuclear Power Plants

Last updated:  December 16, 2014


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